tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC January 16, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST
anti-terror teams thursday take down what they say could have been a paris style attack. >> there are plans to assassinate policemen in the street or at the police buildings. special relationship right now president obama and british prime minister david cameron are meeting at the white house in a few moments they'll be answering questions at the news conference. >> you guys will have all kinds of chance to ask questions later. and you've got a friend. back in paris secretary of state john kerry lays wreaths at the offices of quts charlie heb do lilie heb dough and at the supermarket. and attempting to meet up for the notable absence of u.s. officials sunday he also brings a friend along to paris.
>> james taylor. ♪ all you got to do is call ♪ ♪ and i'll be there yes i will you've got a friend ♪ ♪ good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. talk about an awkward musical make good in washington we're following the latest from the white house and those fast moving developments from across europe. in belgium a small town east of brussels was the scene of a plot on attacking police. two suspects were killed and one is in custody. officials say there is no incident between this and the attacks in paris.
police suspect the man being part of a terror cell. in another scare in france only hours ago an armed man host holding hostages north of paris, the situation was resolved without any bloodshed. french officials confirm the incident was not terror related. let's turn to our team, richard engel live in istanbul and bill neely will join us by phone. let's talk about the sweep in europe which is related to groups they were observing and in many countries concerned something could happen to imitator mirror paris. was this because of any communications that we know of from aqap or isis saying strike now if you can? >> reporter: since paris, we have seen both isis and al qaeda issue numerous statements telling their supporters to
mobilize saying that now is the time to go and carry out their holy war in their home countries, not to try to come to syria or join the caliphate but to turn on the on switch and launch attacks. in the wake of the paris attacks, the european security networks have decided that groups that were under their surveillance can no longer be trusted to be out on the streets and decided to launch several raids in several different countries. germany, belgium, france and over the next couple of days we'll see more of these attacks. in some ways this is a different strategy. we are seeing from isis initially isis and al qaeda were telling people the caliphate has begun, come and join this experiment, this new islamic state and then the u.s. and other nations including european nations launched a war on the caliphate. we're seeing the islamic state,
isis fighting back launching its war on europe and using its own personnel already forward deployed. >> we know, bill neely in belgium, that there were concerns that an arms dealer in belgium may have had some role in arming the kouachi brothers. what about the suspects and that fire fight last night? that was completely unrelated? >> yes, andrea. it seems police have been listening in to the phone calls of these three men for quite some time. about 100 belgians in the last year have come back from syria and iraq with combat experience. these three were among them. police have been tracking them and yesterday at some point they determined that these men were about to launch an imminent attack. police sources were suggesting that that attack might have even come in hours. so they moved in and killed two, arrested one. they found four assault rifles
explosives and police uniforms and radios. clearly these men according to the fleece police have been aabout to a launch an attack against police. it is a small country with a fairly large muslim population half million of a population of 11 million. but more people from belgium have gone to syria and iraq per head of population than any other european state. and belgians feel there is a real threat here. 40 belgians have been killed in syria and iraq and about 13 people have been arrested today. even in a small country like belgium, there is a problem. as richard says this is a pan european problem and cooperation absolutely vital. so the belgians are talking to the french who are talking to the spanish about last week's massacre in paris and today we hear that in britain, security
is being increased in jewish schools and jewish areas of london. >> ron allen, that brings us to the issue of paris and the fact the kouachi brothers could move so easily may have been in spain, the fact that -- excuse me -- that the visa requirements in the eu are so loose. >> reporter: exactly, you can move very easily between countries here without showing passports and there's a call now for tighter border controls to try to restrict movement. yes, all of these raids between here belgium and germany, we're talking about distances that are hours of driving as opposed to -- even though we're talking several countries, europe obviously so much smaller than the united states in terms of where these things are happening. it's a dense problem. here in paris today we began the day with a bomb threat at one of the bomb scare at one of the major train stations it was evacuated and that turned out to be nothing.
put people on edge. we have the hostage situation which sounded like the situation at the jewish grocery store, a gunman hostages and post office, about an hour later that turned out not to be a big problem. so people are still on edge. the police are responding very very cautiously to all of these situations because you just don't know. the last thing i'll mention, there are now calls on the jewish community here from some leaders to allow certain citizens to arm themselves for self-protection, which would be a big step in this society where guns are nothing like they are in the united states. so very much on edge very much still on edge here high alert, secretary kerry came and went. that helped a bit for the united states point of view. but we still go forward in this big sweep last night of over a dozen suspects still trying to tie up loose ends to the attacks that happened here last week. >> richard engel, all of this has brought home the fact that they are a lot under surveillance. there's been a lot of activity
behind the scenes that obviously we haven't seen about and they are moving now in anticipation because of the concerns that the whole incident in paris raised. >> reporter: well european officials have just released figures a short while ago saying about 5,000 europeans have traveled between europe and syria, participated in the war zone and many of them have come back. u.s. military officials have told me that they believe at any one time in syria and iraq fighting with groups like isis, primarily isis there are between 3,000 and 8,000 foreign fighters there at any one time. when i pressed this u.s. military official what do you mean 3,000 to 8,000? he told me well the range indicates just how little we actually know about these people. we know it's in the thousands. we don't know how many are there and don't exactly know which european countries they've returned to. we are talking about many
thousands of people flowing between one of the worgs the war zones in the world and coming back to a -- the e.u. which has open borders within it and quite relaxed laws that protect people's privacy. >> richard engel and of course ron allen, thanks to you and bill neely in belgium. this comes as president obama meets with british prime minister david cameron at the white house. we expect to hear from them moments from now in a joint news conference which we'll carry lie. joining me now is katy kay. i know you're going to be on air because bbc has so much to report on right now. but let's talk about the cameron and obama relationship. the security relationship is as tight as anything could be. there's a lot of cooperation but there are areas where the brits want more from the united states. >> this is an interesting visit. in many ways it was conceived by
david cameron's political election team ahead of the election and barack obama still much more popular in britain than he is here. standing next to the president and wearing same tie and suit looked great. >> it looks like they dressed alike. >> this is the message david cameron wants to send out but in the wake of the paris attacks, this media has taken on much more significance. what the brits would like is more cooperation particularly on cyber issues. there are going to be cyber war games and playing out scenarios under which financial institutions come under attack and americans are going to be helping with that. the difference between the two countries comes on what britain would like america to do in terms of social media. the brits would like the white house to put pressure on organizations like google companies like twitter, facebook to release encrypted data so they can monitor what is
happening on social media. we know social media around here has been a huge player in -- for groups like islamic state. the brits want the americans to clamp down on that. the american companies are much more ret sent. >> so many symbolic steps on this visit. it is a politically conceived trip. there's an election in may and going to be a closely fought election. you have the shadow ministers here shadow chancellor in washington yesterday, very prominently being interviewed here in america. so there's that opposition party in waiting. the prime minister has been staying at the white house. >> he's not head of state. >> the fact they dressed eye
dentically was an accident but -- >> the two of them have written an op-ed in the times of london with the focus on economic policy and what more can be done to promote growth. trade between the two and europe and america is something david cameron would like to promote more of. this is a win-win visit for cameron. the labor party is not treated particularly well by the white house. for david cameron to stay in blair house and be there with barack obama he feels is good for his re-election chances. >> on the terror front, how much on edge is london after what happened in paris and what happened in belgium and arrests in berlin and warnings from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula based in yemen and isis' competition what they see as a terror victory. >> your correspondents were exactly right, this is a pan
european problem. the fact security is being stepped up in london particularly around jewish sites in the country is an indication of how on edge britain is. it's very close. you can get to london to paris in three hours. the effects of what happened in paris ripple directly into other european capitals because we have the same problems. we have to have a pro-pronged approach, security which david cameron is talking about today and what is happening in our schools and communities and our prisons to see why we are getting disaffected young men leaving to join the fight in syria. >> and now women as well. >> thank you very much. katty kay. british prime minister david cameron is at the white house speaking with president obama. they are having lunch. we'll hear from both leaders in a few moments. their comments will be live right here. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] fedex® has solutions
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president obama and british prime minister david cameron in a few moments will hold a joint conference which we'll bring to you live. here with a preview, chuck todd moderator of "meet the press." chuck, there's a lot on david cameron's agenda. we've been saying with katty okay, a lot is political. he first set this meeting because of his election in may, closely fought contest. but now clearly all of the focus is on the terror threats in europe attacks in paris and whether or not there are sleeper cells elsewhere. >> andrea i got two words that keep going through my head this week. it's dismantle and disrupt.
do you remember how many times whether it was president bush president obama, prime minister cameron and blair, how the goal about disrupting dismantle and disrupt. perhaps for five or six years there was success, core al qaeda, the disruption and made these folks feel as at the they had to worry about their own survival rather than be on the offense and go recruit. now it feels as if -- i'm having 2003 2004 flashbacks, right, that all of a sudden it's terror cells popping up in europe and that the isis and aqap in yemen there, both seem to be not disrupted to the point they can't recruit again. i think there's a larger question for both prime minister cameron and the president. this counterterrorism strategy which in some form is ten years old. you can argue this new version of about, started in about '05
or '06, is it succeeding or do we need to rethink it? because you may kill the enemy but haven't defeated the enemy. that seems to be the con nun drum we're in. >> what we don't know as we seem to see this rivalry almost between al qaeda in the yemen and al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and isis to see who can strike first and most how much is simply inspirational, by social media and propaganda inspiring these young disaffected men in the suburbs of paris or in prisons as they connect with each other. then you have the infrastructure of arms dealers and the rest that have always been in europe. so that then leads to -- i'm sure president obama, his counter terror expert and john brennan, to talk about the surveillance nsa, thing that europe pushed back so hard
again. >> we know already the president is not going to be able to talk about reforms he wants to put in surveillance issues in time for state of the union. instead those reforms will get announced it appears after he comes back from india. but again, that's right. i mean you're now seeing particularly from the intelligence community they are pushing back saying we're able to disrupt, we're able to find some of these cells because of this extra surveillance. politically we know how extraordinarily unpopular that is in the western european countries. and yet at the same time they have their own security demands and i'll be curious to see if public opinion in europe on this changes. we know in the united states it fluctuates depending on how people personally feel. >> chuck todd thank you so much. of course, be sure to tune in to "meet the press" this sunday. chuck will have a preview of the state of the union address on
tuesday. and tune in here on tuesday for a special edition of "andrea mitchell reports" john mccain, democrat leader nancy pelosi patrick leahy and david axelrod. what do you think the state of the union is? share your thoughts using the #sotuis. pope francis on the second day of a five-day visit to the philippines. pope was greeted by tens and thousands and did what he does so well got into the middle of crowds of adoring followers but did make critical comments about same-sex marriage which seem to walk back his earlier more inclusive comments. he said the family is threatened by growing efforts on part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage. these realities are increasingly
under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure god's plan for creation. today in the u.s. we could learn on a related matter whether the supreme court is going to take up one of five same-sex marriage cases currently pending. they are in conference today and could hear whether that case or one of those cases or issue will be taken up this year. and stay with us right here on msnbc. we're waiting president obama, prime minister cameron will of course go live to the white house as soon as they come out. [container door opening] ♪ what makes it an suv is what you can get into it. ♪ [container door closing] what makes it an nx is what you can get out of it. ♪ introducing the first-ever lexus nx turbo and hybrid. once you go beyond utility there's no going back.
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due to a security threat. in arkansas a father and son were turned from a shooting range that had been declared muslim free because they have dark complexions, they were not muslims. i'm joined by the editor of muslim monthly. first, duke university highly secular university the chapel tower an iconic location on campus. what happened there? do you know? >> yeah andrea they recently rescinded their weekly call to prayer after frankly graham put push pressure on the university and said he would try to get donors to remove money. frankly graham in 2001 told tom brokaw that islam is a wicked and evil religion.
and he gave graham an opportunity to take back his remarks and he doubled down on it since then. it's nice to see duke university cower to the bigotry, i wonder if they go to the coach and star tell him their star player can't play anymore. it's something i hope won't happen again. >> clearly they have to discuss this. we should point out franklin graham is the son of billy graham. what do we know about the shooting range in arkansas? that's completely crazy -- all crazy -- >> it really is andrea. apparently there are a firing range in arkansas which has designated itself a muslim-free zone. they have a no muslim sign hanging on the outside of their store. and an indian -- american indian hindu college student went to the firing range with their father and because of the brown
skin they thought they were muslim and denied them service. if it was a gun range with no blacks or jew sign i would be horrified. arkansas can do a lot better in the year 2015. as we look to europe there's increasing tensions anti-muslim backlash we've seen steps taken by france against a prominent muslim comedian while they are busy proclaiming free speech in the name of quts"charlie hebdo" appropriately and at the same time we have the jewish community feeling under siege. i don't know whether heads of government can deal with this what faith leaders can do what we in journalism can do. >> you know that's a very good question. even before the "charlie hebdo" attacks in paris, in germany there were anti-islam rallies that had up to 17,000 people in cities around germany and german
leader angela merkel is now joining a sort of pro-interfaith prally to sort of quell the tide of this right wing neo-nazi anti-immigrant anti-muslim political movements you're seeing in germany and france and the national front, the british national party in the u.k., which is right wing, ultranationalistic parties. primarily with their muslim min orts in their countries. >> i want to read a statement from duke university that we now have. duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive toll rant and welcoming campus for all students. however it was cleared what was an effort to unify is not having the intended effect. but we'll be getting back to them -- yes. >> yeah andrea that's a great statement but i would say if we look at the specter of identity
politics in america, islamo phobia is the one accepted form of racism in america. if you say something anti-black or homephobic there will be universal uproar but taking shots against muslims is okay today. >> it's not okay here. we'll follow up. we're awaiting president obama, prime minister david cameron live at the white house. the press conference at any moment. i'm joined by keir simmons in london and peter alexander from the north lawn. peter, the president's agenda is clearly to have a shared and very close joint statement against terror. >> that's exactly right and given the headlines in recent day, there's new urgentcy for remarks the individuals will make today. david cameron behind closed doors has been pressing the press about efforts to try to beef up surveillance efforts,
specifically cyber security and specifically beyond that the efforts to have american companies, those like google and facebook offer a backboor entry way for intelligence efforts to try to keep track of terror cells around the world. you and chuck had an important conversation earlier in the hour, the discussion about dismantle and destroy. that's what the white house and this administration has said its focus has been and it's one they have been successful in. there are a lot of people around the world, certainly those in europe right now who are concerned that strategy may not be succeeding in the way they would desire roughly 3,000 westerners, it's believed have headed off as foreign fighters to places like iraq and syria. the number more than 100 likely among those is americans. it's a real concern they will will have to tamp down as they speak to the audience today. >> keir what is the prime minister's agenda?
>> well the british prime minister in general always gains more from a meeting with the u.s. president than vice-versa i guess, that's usually the case. as you've mentioned earlier in the show the british elections are coming later this year. so david cameron, the prime minister will feel like he gained a lot in terms of optics from this. but peter is right, there's really important questions here about fighting terrorism that they will have been talking about. of course, andrea as you know british and american intelligence always work very very closely together. what the two leaders will be doing is figuring out what more can be done because in general and this is more and more the case. when a terrorism plot is foiled. it is usually the work of a number of different agencies around the world that leads to that plot particularly substantial plots being intercepted and prevented. >> and i just wanted to share with you all that the white house put out a statement, a joint statement between the u.k.
and the u.s. on cyber security on their joint efforts now on cyber security. this is going to also i'm told be part of the state of the union. clearly after what happened with sony and accusations by this government against north korea that they were involved there's a big question we've had all of the retail operations targeted and others who have been hacked. there's a real issue here from u.s. business, from european and british business as well to have better defenses. they are saying that the u.s. and u.k. agree that the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges that our nations face and every day foreign governments and criminals and hackers are attempting to probe and attack government and private sector systems in both of our countries. i think what you're going to hear in the opening statements today, keir and peter, they are going to try to work together to improve cyber security and strengthen cyber defense.
i've been hearing this from intelligence officials under various administrations for a decade now and we don't know a according to sophisticated people in the private sector we don't seem to know how to deal with this in a proactive way. >> i think you're right. it has been highlighted with the movie "the interview" and many americans are learning about the people like north korea or perhaps china to hack into systems of the united states that can be debilitating. this is an effort with significant cooperation that will involve banks on both sides of the atlantic ocean, bank of england to be involved banks in london as well and banks on wall street likely to be participating in these type of cyber war games that are expected in the not too distant future because as the president and this administration would indicate, some of the risks to this country are not specific to terror attacks in the way we
traditionally see them but some can happen through those cyber avenues and be just as damaging. keir back in the day we used to say there could be attacks on infrastructure key transportation hubs on nuclear facilities heaven forbid. but this is at this stage we're seeing the effect that the economic effect on sony as well as the political and propaganda effect and then the financial institutions which are well defended according to the central bankers here and around the world. but they always have to stay one step ahead of those who are figuring out the next step. the other point here i would make is that american hands are not entirely clean. we know the so-called success that was revealed of u.s. and other allied attempts to slow down the iran-nuclear developments by attacking their critical infrastructure. >> that's right, andrea. cyber is seen as a new battle
ground and seen that way for a long time. in recent memoir he raises the question about this kind of cyber attack not just being directed commercially but being directed for example at countries at defenses and the president and prime minister might not talk about that but that will be in back of their mind. we know that from the former defense secretary's memoirs that that will be one of their real concerns that these -- the western countries britain and america and other european countries need to figure out how to defend themselves to defend what can often be hundreds of millions of dollars lost by western banks in cyber attacks but also to defend about something -- against something far worse, god forbid something like that should happen. i suspect that what we hear them talking about now or soon may be some of it but there will be
conversations happening in the background about other threats and what they need to do to defend western countries, western nations against other threats from various countries that would have dark intents. >> this is not only going to be a government to government relationship according to their announcement m.i.t. in cambridge is partnering with cambridge partyuniversity. working together to try to put the best minds from the u.k. and united states together on cyber defenses. we can see the preparations in the east room. susan rice the national security adviser has come in. remarks have been placed on the podium and the two leaders are expected in momentarily. they've been having lunch and top advisers were with them. we see a door opening now and here are the president of the united states and david cameron, the prime minister of the u.k.
>> good afternoon, everybody. this month marks a notable anniversary, 200 years since the battle of new orleans. here in america, we call the great victory over a mighty united kingdom, our british friends call it a technicality. the treaty ending the war was signed weeks before. either way, we've long since made up on this 200th an ver ris, we count the united kingdom as one of the greatest friends and strongest allies and it's a pleasure to welcome david cameron back to the white house. david recently noted how comfortable the two of us are working together. this sent some commentators into a tizzy, others debated the definition and how this term
evolved over time. some seem confused and asked what does obama mean. and so let me put this speculation to rest. put simply david is a great friend, one of my closest and most trusted partners in the world on many of the most pressing challenges we face we see the world the same way. we recognize that as i've said before when the united states and united kingdom stand together our nations are more secure and people are more prosperous and the world is safer and more just. great britain is our indispensable partner and david has been personally an outstanding partner and i thank you for your friendship. with both of our economies growing and unemployment falling, we used our working dinner to discuss how to create more jobs for our people. we believe that this needs to be
the year when the united states and the european union make real progress toward the trans atlantic trade and investment partnership and share the view that boosting demand in europe can keep our economies growing. as innovative economies we're expanding our collaborate on digital technologies to improve how our governments serve our citizens and businesses. given the urgent and growing danger of cyber threats, we decided to expand to protect the critical infrainstruct stur and businesses and people. we believe a strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gases will be an essential element of any ambitious climate agreement we seek in paris this year. and that this actually will help spur the creation of more clean energy jobs on both sides of the atlantic. with regard to security american british unity is
enabling us to meet challenges in europe and beyond. we agree on the need to maintain strong sanctions against russia until it ends its aggression in ukraine. on the need to support, ukraine as it implements important economic and democratic reforms. we will agree that the international community needs to remain united as we seek a comprehensive diplomatic solution to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. and i'd add that additional sanctions on iran at this time would undermine that international unity and set back our chances for a diplomatic solution. and as the two leading contributors to the global response to ebola in west africa, we urge the world to continue stepping up with resources that are required so we don't simply stop this disease but do more to prevent future epidemics. now much of our discussion focused on the continuing threat of terrorism. and in the wake of a vicious
attacks in paris, as well as the news surfacing out of belgium today we continue to stand unequivocally, not only with french friends and allies but all of our partners dealing with this scourge. we'll do everything to help france seek the justice that is needed and all of our countries are working together seem alsoly to prevent attacks and defeat these terrorist networks. with our combat mission in afghanistan over we're also focused with the nato allies on advising and equipping afghan forces to secure their own country and deny al qaeda any safe haven there. we'll continue to count on our british allies as are one of our strongest counterterrorism partners, whether it's it's helping fight against al qaeda or boko haram in nigeria.
we're systemically taking out isil's fighters and destroying their insfra structure and helping local forces push back. we agree we need to step up training of iraqi forces and not relent until this terrorist organization is destroyed. now the paris attacksunderscored how terrorist groups like al qaeda and isil are trying to inspire and support people within our own countries to engage in terrorism. i let a special session of the united nations security council last fall to rally the world to meet the threat of foreign terrorist fighters including come being from syria. david and the united kingdom continue to be strong partners in the work sharing intelligence and strengthening border security. at the same time we both recognize that intelligence and military force alone is not going to solve this problem. we're also going to keep working together on strategies to
counter violent extremism that radicalizes, recruits and mobilizes people especially young people to engage in terrorism and local communities and families and neighbors faith leaders have a vital role to play in that area. we also look forward to welcoming our british friends to our summit next month on countering violent terrorism. because whether in europe or in america, critical weapon against terrorism is our adherence to our freedoms and values at home. including the pluralism and respect and tolerance that defines us as diverse and democratic societies. finally i want to take this opportunity to fun lickly congratulate david on last month's agreement, a tribute to the courage and determination of everyone involved especially leaders of northern ireland and united kingdom. the united states was pleased to
play a small role in achieving this agreement and we're going to keep doing what we need to do to support the peace process and the better future for the people of northern eyeireland. with that, let me turn it over to my good friend david cameron. >> thank you for welcoming me again to the white house. you are a great friend to britain and to me personally. as leaders we share the same values and as you said on so many issues we see the world in the same way. and most of the time we speak the same language. in the last six years since you became president and in the nearly five since i've been prime minister, we face some big issues on our watch. those challenges have boiled down to one word security. economic security the jobs and living standards of our citizens and national security the ability of our peoples to live safely and in peace. and at the heart of both issues
are the values that our countries cherish, freedom of expression, law and democratic institutions. those are the things that make both of our countries strong and which give us confidence that even in the midst of the most violent storms with strong leadership we will come through to saver and calmer and brighter days. during your presidency, you've had to deal with the aftermath of a massive banking crisis and deep recession. when i became prime minister britain had the highest budget deficit in the peace time history and our economy was in grave peril. five years ago, we had 110,000 troops serving together in afghanistan. thanks to their efforts today it is afghan forces taking responsibility for security in their country. we continue to face difficult times for the world. first and foremost, we have to deal with the warning lights flashing in the global economy. weak growth in the eurozone and
slowdown in emerging markets. that is why it is vital for our shared prosperity that we both stick to the long-term economic plans that we've set out. we agreed that 2015 should be a pivotal year for a comprehensive e.u./u.s. trade deal to benefit the average household in britain by 400 pounds a year. the u.k. is the top destination for american and foreign investment with 500 projects last year providing 32,000 jobs. and america is the u.k.'s biggest trade partner with exports worth nearly 90 billion pounds. we want to build on this. so our message on the economy today is simple. we're going to stick to the course because seeing through our economic plans is the only sustainable way to create jobs, raise living standards and to secure a better future for hard working people. britain and america both face threats to our national security
from people who hate what our countries stand for and are determined to do us harm. in recent weeks we've seen a pauling attacks in paris, peshawar and nigeria. the world is sickened by this terrorism. we know what we're up against and know how we will win. we face a poisonous and fanatical ideology that wants to convert one of the major religions, islam and create conflict and terror and death. with our allies we'll confront it wherever it appears. in iraq the u.k. is the second largest contributor to the anti-isil coalition. conducted over 100 strikes and continue to play a leading role. we'll deploy additional surveillance assets to help iraqi forces on ground. we will insure they are better trained and equipped to counter explosive devices. most important of all, we must
also fight to this poisonous ideology starting at home. in the uk we're passing a law so every public body must combat extremism. and this morning we have agreed to establish a joint group to identify what more we can do to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism and to learn from one another. in europe russia has chosen to tear up the international rule book and trampling over the affairs of a sovereign state. this threatens our stability and prosperity. it is important that every country understands that and that no one in europe forgets our history. we cannot walk on by. so we will continue to put pressure on russia to resolve this crisis diplomatically and at the same time we'll continue our efforts to support ukraine on the path of reform including with financial assistance. we also reaffirmed our obligations as nato partners to stand by allies and we'll contribute an additional 1,000
troops for exercises in eastern europe this year. on iran we remain absolutely committed to ensuring iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon. the best way to achieve that now is to create the space for negotiations to succeed. we should not impose further sanctions now. that would be counter productive and it could put at risk the valuable international unity that has been so crucial to our approach. we also have to keep pace with new threats such as cyber attacks, we discussed that in the last two days and today agreed to deepen our cyber security operation to better protect ourselves. finally we face the entire world facts a growing threat from diseases. today our fight is against ebola. in the future it could be against a global flu pandemic. through our action in sierra
leeon leeone, we are beginning to turn the corner. we must get better to make sure to master them before they master us. reforming the w.h.o. world health organization establishing a team of experts to be on stand by to deploy anywhere in the world, new international platform to stimulate the design and development of new drugs, all of these things are needed. let 2015 the year we must crack ebola, also be the year we tackle extreme poverty and climate change. on poverty, we must set nuclear goals to ir rad indicate extreme poverty and on climate change we want and outcome in paris that keeps our goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees within reach. these two things, and they go together, have the potential to give security to future generations to come. for almost two centuries, after
those little difficulties we were discussing earlier, america and britain have stood as kin dread spirits in defending our freedoms and advancing our shared prosperity. today as we survey a world in flux our alliance stands strong rooted in its long history sean reinvigorated by the challenges we fact today. if our forebearers could join us in the white house today they might find the challenges we're facing from isixts l to ebola to banking crisis find those hard to comprehend but they would surely recognize the ties that bind us across the atlantic and the values that our peoples hold so dear. we've stood together so often, not just because we face common threats, but because we funds. fundamentally believe in the same things. it hugely benefits our countries and the people we're here to
serve. thank you very much. we'll take a few questions. >> you mentioned your opposition to the sanctions bill on iran. this is a bipartisan bill supported by your own members in congress. why do ut oppose a bill that would only impose sanctions if you fail to reach an agreement and if the iranians fail to agree to take steps to curtail their nuclear program? would you go so far as to veto a bill supported by top democrats in congress on this issue? and to mr. prime minister i understand you've been making phone calls to senators on this issue of the iran sanctions bill. is that correct? are you actually lobbying the u.s. congress on this? if i may, mr. president, i
really like would hear your reaction to the news that mitt romney is thinking about running for president again. >> on your last question i have no comment. on your first question when i came into office i made a commitment that iran would not obtain a nuclear weapon that we would do everything we could to prevent that. and that is important for our security and important for the world security. if iran obtained a nuclear weapon, then it would trigger an arms race in the middle east make our job in terms of preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials much more difficult. given their missile
capabilities it would threaten directly our closest allies including israel. and ultimately could threaten us. and so what we did was systemically with the help of congress construct the most forceful, most effective sanctions regime in modern history. and what was remarkable was that when i came into office the world was divided around this issue and iran was united. and through some very strong diplomatic work we united the world and isolated iran. and it's because of that work that we brought them to the negotiating table not for posturing or not for meetings that lead nowhere, but to a very hard nosed nuts and bolt
discussion of their nuclear program. now, the interim deal we entered into, also froze progress on their nuclear program, rolled back in some cases the stock piles of material that they had already accumulated and provided us insight into the program that was unprecedented. we have people on the ground able to verify and inspect and tell us what exactly is going on. that's not just our assessment. that's the assessment of intelligence services around the world, including the israelis. the agreement is held and negotiations have been serious. we have not lost ground -- iran has not accelerated its program during the time these negotiations have taken place. in fact iran's program has not only been an obeyance but made gains in makerolling back the stock piles that they have.
now, we have on the table currently, a series of negotiations over the next several months to determine whether or not iran can get to yes. and what's been remarkable is the unity we have maintained with the world in isolating iran and forcing them to negotiate in a serious way. the p 5 plus 1 includes not only china but also includes russia. and they have continued to cooperate with us in setting forth positions that would give us assurances that iran was not developing a nuclear weapon. i've always said that the chances that we can actually get a diplomatic deal are probably less than 50/50. iran is a regime that is deeply suspicious of the west deeply suspicious of us.
in the past they have advanced aspects of this program secretly. we have huge differences with them on a whole range of issues but if in fact we still have an opportunity to get a diplomatic deal that provides us verifiable assurances that they are not developing nuclear weapon that is the best possible outcome that we can arrive at right now. the question i had for members of congress including those folks in my own party is why is it that we would have to take actions that might jeopardize the possibility of getting a deal over the next 60 to 90 days? what is it precisely that is going to be accomplished? i can tell you what the risks are and i think david shares my
assessment here. under the interim deal that brought iran to the table, we were not supposed to initiate new sanctions. now, you'll hear arguments that these technically aren't new sanctions, they are simply laws putting in place the possibility of additional sanctions. i assure you that is not how iran would interpret it or our partners would interpret it. the likelihood of the entire negotiations collapsing is very high. if that happens, there's no constraint on iran at that point going back and doing exactly what it had been doing before they came to the table, developing a heavy watt are re reactor that once built is extraordinarily difficult to dismantle and very difficult to hit militarily going back at underground facilities that are
very hard to reach militarily accelerating advanced sen centrifuges that shorten the breakout capacity. and they would be able to maintain that the reason they ended negotiations was because the united states was operating in bad faith and blew up the deal. and there would be some sympathy to that view around the world, which means that the sanctions that we have in place now would potentially fray imposing these sanctions are a hardship around the world. they would love to buy iranian oil. the reason they've hung in there despite the economic interest is because we have shown that we are kredably trying to solve this problem and avert some sort of military showdown. in that contex